Conscious Consumer : 5 tips to curb your spending habit

Conscious Consumer : 5 tips to curb your spending habit

Whether we believe we ‘buy into it’ or not, many of us unwittingly fall into the trappings of the consumerist society we were born into.

It’s interesting to consider when we actually started to believe that the acquisition of ‘stuff’ would bring us happiness and wellbeing: was it those cartoon adverts as a child that glorified the most recent toy craze or glossy teen magazines that highlighted next seasons fashion must haves?

For most of us purchasing ‘stuff’ is a daily ritual, one that rewards heartache, sadness, good behaviour, birthdays, loneliness or just plain boredom.  But does it really bring us the satisfaction and ‘wholeness’ that we crave?

Recently Ive started to realise just how trapped I’d become in the idea that more stuff would make me happy.  When I started realising just how short-lived the enjoyment of a new purchase was it became clear to me that this was not the way I wanted to live my life anymore.

I looked at my life and saw that I was working more, so that I could buy more.  I wanted to be able to work less and live more, I wanted to have fun! I craved less clutter around me and more space to just be me, so I decided to really try to cut down on my unnecessary spending once and for all.

I tackled this by implementing these 5 techniques I’m about to share with you.  It’s my hope that you too may look a little deeper into the reasons that you spend unnecessarily and free yourself up to just live more!

Without further ado, here are my ‘Top 5 Tips To Curb Your Spending Habit’!

1/ Stop following social media accounts or reading magazines that promote fashion and makeup hauls and idolises unnecessary spending!  Look at what media you are consuming and consider just how much of it is actually just advertising that aims at getting you to buy more.

2/  Find out what your emotional shopping triggers are : are you on the way to work and feeling low about your body? On the commute home and rewarding a hard days work with some retail therapy?  Find other ways to reward yourself or show yourself love, like taking a long bubble bath or putting aside a little money each week and take a beautiful weekend trip somewhere instead.  Reward yourself with experiences instead of things.

3/  Don’t dangle the carrot under your nose : give yourself a transition time where you don’t go into shops or even look in the window shop.  Don’t allow yourself 30 minutes to shop before work if you know that’s when you’re most likely to spend.  Go for coffee with girlfriends instead of heading to the shops together.

4/  Start a spending log for a month and see clearly how much you are actually spending unnecessarily.  I use ‘Dollar Bird’ which is a free android and apple finance app that allows you to easily log and itemise your spending.  Seeing what you spend on clothes and unnecessary purchases and totalling up the costs is a great catalyst for change!

5/  Don’t let yourself buy anything right away : if you’ve walked into a shop and have your hands full with hangers and bee-lining for the cashiers, ask the cashiers to hold onto your items for half an hour or even better give yourself an evening to consider those purchases!  Often time is enough to consider if you need all or in fact any of your purchases.

It’s my wish that all people have the opportunity to experience the freedom of owning just the things that you absolutely love.  It’s amazing to relieve yourself from the stresses of debt and money-making and really live for life again!

Please do send me a comment about your experiences of reducing your spending and moving towards more conscious spending.

Until next time,

Bex

 

Alternative Living : Tiny House Storage Solutions

Alternative Living : Tiny House Storage Solutions

Some of you might not know, but my partner Tom and I are in the process of planning and funding our very own ‘Tiny House’ build starting in the new year.  If you haven’t heard of the tiny house movement, the idea is that you create a little house on the back of a flatbed trailer, which counts in the eyes of the law as an RV or motorhome.  This allows you to create your own moveable home without the need of applying for planning permission or hiring an architect.  Tiny home’s are becoming more and more common, in particular in the US, but the movement has also been gaining momentum in Australia in recent years.

I have been interested in alternative living options since I was a teenager and thought for sometime that I would own my own van, but when I saw my first photos of these beautiful little tiny homes that include everything you could need, I just knew that this is the way that we should go.  For me owning and building a tiny home allows me the freedom to lower my cost of living dramatically, escape the rental market, own my own space, and be able to move my home throughout the country.  This is something that Tom and I have been aiming towards for a couple of years now and we’re both so excited that we’re getting closer to the build start date!

In the eyes of the law tiny homes are considered to be caravans, so are restricted in size.  Tom and I will be building out tiny house on the back of a 7.2m x 2.4m trailer, so you can imagine that downsizing and also coming up with clever storage solutions are a very important part of the process.

Today I want to talk about tiny house storage and share some of the amazing ways that people include storage solutions into their tiny homes.

Storage Stairs

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Image from Small House Bliss

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Image from Tiny House Talk

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Image from Tiny House Swoon

Storage Sofas

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Image from Treehugger

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Image from DIY House Building

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Image from Tiny House Talk

Hidden Storage

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Image from Tiny House Talk

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Image from Homedit

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Image from Tiny House Swoon

I hope that you found this inspiration post interesting! I love looking at and considering different design features that we could include in our tiny home and I know that a number of you many also be considering alternative living options such as van-life or building/buying your own tiny home.  I’d love to hear from you if you are planning your own alternative living options.

Tom and I will likely be including many of these storage ideas into our own build.  I have plans to share our build progress on this platform so I look forward to sharing more tiny house inspiration and resources with you in the future!

Until next time ❤

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Alternative Living : How to declutter and downsize your life

Alternative Living : How to declutter and downsize your life

One part of the process that I find often gets missed when people share about their tiny house journey is the downsizing: how do you go from an average house and all the stuff you bought to fill it up with and then go and move into a 7m x 2m room? Needless to say that the process of ‘going tiny’ really does start with a mindset shift.

We’re surrounded by marketing campaigns from every single angle trying to sell us the newest and coolest gear.  As a woman I feel constantly bombarded by sales and marketing ploys that try to sell me things in a way that makes them seem essential to my wellbeing.  It’s really quite nasty, it can get under your skin and before you know it there’s almost a sense of unworthiness if your not wearing the right clothes or have a sparkly new outfit every day.

I started my journey into downsizing when I moved, last minute, to Tom’s home country of Australia in November 2011.  In the space of a few short weeks I had to get rid of a lifetime of stuff and consolidate everything that I wanted to own into a 60L back pack and hand luggage.  That experience was a real eye opener, I got such a buzz out of chucking out (donating) clothes, books, shoes and nicknacks that were just cluttering up my life and weren’t even bringing me joy.  I had left 2 bags of clothes and a box of books at my mum’s house, the final pieces that I just couldn’t bare to get rid of.  What was magical was that when I came back to visit the UK 18 months later, I looked through those bags of clothes and donated 99% of all the pieces to charity; nothing excited me anymore, there was no emotional attachment to anything.

Since then Ive had a number of big chuck outs over the years.  Tom and I move around quite a lot and we have spent large chunks of the last few years travelling, so there’s been plenty of opportunities for me to scale back on the dud purchases that never fit right or just weren’t comfy enough for me to wear regularly.

In contrast, when I first met Tom he had been living out of a day-pack for 18 months.  Tom’s the kind of guy that does his clothes shopping in a few hectic hours once a year.  His clothes and shoes easily fit into one jumbo tub when we’re moving from place to place.  Where as my vice is clothing, Tom’s seems to be antique books.  Let’s just say we’re going to have to build some beautiful shelves in our little home to house his growing collection of antiques!

As the build is approaching closer, I’ve found in myself a new found resolve when it comes to abstaining from purchasing many new things: there’s now q really fun reason to not partake in frivolous spending! I  know that I’m going to have to be disciplined with the belongings that I choose to include in our home, so there really is no better time to start than now!

I’m  lucky that this has seemed to have progressed so naturally for me, with my love of chucking out naturally leading to the desire to reduce the frivolous purchases that I make.  That’s not to say that I don’t get distracted by Sales signs and pretty Gorman jumpers as I walk to work in the cold Melbourne winter!

I know for some people they still find it REALLY hard to downsize and I wanted to share with you some tips and tricks that I’ve picked up along the way to declutter and stop bringing in new items into your life unnecessarily.  So let’s dive in!

  1. Get out all your clothes.  You’re going to create a donation pile and a chuck out pile.  Donate anything that doesn’t fit you anymore or that you haven’t worn in a year. (I know it’s hard but it’s going to be worth it!).
  2. Next chuck out any clothes or undies that are too beaten up to be donated.  If your not choosing to wear them because there are holes all over them, then they’re not doing much for you in your wardrobe!
  3. Look through your remaining clothes and really ask yourself if you love each piece. Do you find yourself reaching for it all the time? Does it fit well, is it comfy? If not, Donate it.
  4. Go through your books, DVDs and music collections.  Chuck out anything that you haven’t used in at least a year.  If you haven’t listened to that album, pass it on to someone who’ll appreciate it.  Consider uploading your music to a hard drive or computer then selling the original.  If you’re not reaching for that book you read already, recommend it to a friend or sell it on Ebay!  See if you can sell good quality pieces, if not just donate them.
  5. Don’t forget your makeup and beauty supplies, they really can take up a ton of space!  Do you have makeup that’s over a year old? Check the use-by date as it probably is out of date and should be thrown out.  Chuck out any pieces that your not reaching for, unused cosmetics could be given to friends if you think they’d like them.  Do you really need 8 different body moisturisers? Pick one and chuck the rest.

So the next step is really to start monitoring what purchases you are bringing into your home.  The first step is really just to be open with ourselves with our buying habits and a great way to do this is a spending log.  There are great apps that you can download on your devices such as ‘Dollarbird’ or similar where you can log in any purchases and choose different categories.  I find doing a week or two of money logging is such a great motivator for me to naturally adjust my spending habits.

You might also find that you are spending as a way of ‘self-care’, rewarding yourself with some retail therapy.  I certainly find myself doing this and a solution that Ive come up with for myself is to take myself out on dates instead! A chai latte in a pretty little coffee shop is far more enjoyable and relaxing then queueing up in an H&M Sale line to purchase that shirt thats 50% and looks sort-of-nice.

Something else that I have noticed that I do is purchasing more than one of what I love, like buying 2 pairs of the same jeans for example.  When I find something that I love the internal hoarder in me thinks ‘grab another incase you loose it!’, when really I only need one pair of the same jeans.

I feel like Im only really skimming the surface here and that there’s so much more that I want to write about this topic, but Ill leave it there for now.

Until next time!

Handmade Wardrobe : my most worn handmade garment

Handmade Wardrobe : my most worn handmade garment

If you found this blog through my creative instagram account or youtube channel then you probably already know that I am an AVID knitter and crafter in general.  Since as far back as I can remember I’ve been making my own clothes, starting off with a love of sewing that quickly moved into knitting and it’s something that has been my constant companion through years of changes, both style wise and also continent wise too!

For me being creative is being me.  It’s about expressing my personality in a material form and it’s just plain magical! As I’ve been venturing more towards downsizing and decluttering my life there’s been a gradual move towards more ‘intentional making’, for example: really looking at the handmade pieces that I reach for again and again.

Today I wanted to share with you a relatively recent make that has quickly become my most loved piece of handmade clothing, or maybe even clothing in general.

Her name is Smaragd (which translates into ’emerald’), and she is a mustard, merino and silk hand knit jumper and I LOVE her.  I think the reason that I love her so so much and reach for her all the time is because she’s a perfectly cropped length that means she can be layered over tops with jeans but also fits perfectly over dresses too without bunching them up underneath.  My Smaragd sweater is knit out of a lightweight and ridiculously soft 4ply yarn which is hand-dyed and purchased from a fair-trade company based out of Uruguay.  The yarn is very breathable and certainly not too warm for the funny Melbourne weather that demands lots and lots of easily removable layers.  She’s also the PERFECT shade of Mustard, that suits my olive skin tone and matches my wardrobe of autumnal toned browns, plums and teals.  Where as the pattern is actually written to be a cardigan, I adjusted it slightly so as to create this simple pullover instead.  I have plans to create another version in a slightly more hardy yarn next time, potentially in a muted plum tone or a dusty green, both of which I imagine would fit into my handmade wardrobe really well.

 

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I think that when you enter the land of downsizing, it becomes more and more apparent what your ‘real’ personal style is.  I’m not talking about the personal style that you WANT to have but actually the one that you have, in real life!

For me there was something really magical about accepting my personal style as it actually was, a bit muted and autumnal, definitely cosy and comfy and always matching.  We can often purchase things that we want to wear because we thought they looked amazing on someone else, but what’s the point in owning things that we don’t ever actually reach for?

As I downsize my belongings so they will eventfully fit into our 7.4 m Tiny House, it’s becoming very clear that just as I’m becoming more of a conscious consumer with regards to fast fashion, I also need to do the same with my own creative pursuits too.  My dream has always been to have a completely handmade wardrobe and I hope to someday reach that ‘pinnacle’, but for me it’s still such a learning curve to work out pieces to create that I know I will love and wear again and again.

It’s certainly a process, and one I’m looking forward to sharing with you in the future!

 

Pattern : Smaragd by Svetlana Volkova

Yarn : Fino by Manos Del Uruguay ‘Brass Button’